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A Brief History of Iconic Skincare and Must Have Brands You Will Love

062A0033-Apple+ProRes+422+(LT).mov.19_04_19_20.Still001.jpgThe skincare we have access to in 2019 has an exciting, rich history. It is the story of passion, of women uniting, of science getting the best from nature, and above all, one of preserving our luminous beauty because we all deserve the very best.

So when you next reach into your handbag to grab your favourite lippy, or smooth on your gorgeous facial serum as you get ready for bed, you’re adding your own imprint into this vibrant, empowered story. 


There are few things in the history of beauty that are as iconic as the Elizabeth Arden red door, or in fact, Elizabeth Arden herself. This talented Canadian opened her first salon in New York City in 1910 showcasing her cosmetics which, just five years later, went global. But what makes Arden a standout among women of her time was her legacy in the suffragette movement. Marching in 1912 for women’s rights, more than 15,000 woman wore Arden’s iconic red lipstick in solidarity applied by the woman herself!

Now that’s a revolution we can get behind!



This vibrant era hailed in the age of Coco Chanel, a very talented French businesswoman who created a high end brand steeped in luxury launched through textiles in 1909. Chanel debuted into beauty with the 1921 launch of fragrance Chanel No. 5 crafted to epitomise the dazzling charm, complexity and adventurous nature of post WWI modern European woman. Chanel No. 5 was designed for her most esteemed clients, as was popular among fashion houses of the day. In 1920, creating perfume that was both fresh and lasting was the challenge, one she posed to perfumer Ernest Beaux, who was patronised by the Russian royal family. Beaux created 10 samples, numbered one to five, and 20 to 24, of which Coco Chanel chose number 5. 

The Chanel brand next pioneered skincare with its Luxe Multitasking Oil in 1927, which famously used jasmine oil for its soothing properties, as well as silky texture and light floral scent and delivered luminous skin.


French luxury house Lancôme is another brand celebrating an impressive history which began in 1935. Founder Armand Petitjean in 1936 jumped straight into skincare creating the multi-tasking repair cream Nutrix, which is still around today.


Not only did Christian Dior transform the weary post-World War II fashion in 1947 with his ‘New Look’ sensual silhouette, the French Haute Couture house with Dior at its head revolutionised beauty. Dior became one of the most influential figures of his time with the new concept of luxurious beauty, which signaled a break away from conventional beauty standards using highest quality, 100% pure plant extracts. 

The era was sealed in the in 1947 with the launch of the classical fruity-chypre Miss Dior release to coincide with the House of Dior’s first runway show. This iconic scent was followed in later decades by Eau Sauvage for men, crafted by perfumer Edmond Roudnitska, released in 1966, and much later in 1999 by J’Adore - a pun to echo the word “Dior” - by French master perfumer Calice Becker.


Clinique is another classic skincare range we love. The iconic beauty brand emerged in 1968 when three brilliant minds converged. US Vogue editor Carol Phillips, daughter-in-law of Estée Lauder Evelyn Lauder, and renowned dermatologist Norman Orentreich MD together created revolutionary skin care products that were allergy-tested and were based on nature backed by science. Evelyn Lauder was inspired to contact the Vogue editor following reading its article entitled ‘Can Great Skin Be Created?’ in 1967. In collaboration with Vogue beauty editor Carol Phillips, thanks to Lauder who was the first to don a white lab coat worn by Clinique sales people today, the Clinique brand was born with the tagline, ‘Great skin can be created’.

The range was developed to address specific skin concerns, such as hyperpigmentation, fine lines, redness, large pores, acne and hydration, something not done previously. Clinique products then and now contained no allergens, irritants, fragrance or ingredients known to harm skin. A legacy started then that continues today, was Clinique training its own dermatologists and salespeople to understand the skin and tailor unique skincare solutions to customers in a one-on-one experience, which inspired loyalty to the brand.


Shiseido was founded in 1872 by Japan’s Yushin Fukuhara, who believed beauty was universal and therefore beauty care products should also be, making it one of the modern world’s oldest beauty houses, and today the fourth largest in the world. Although heavily influenced in its branding by the West, the beauty and cosmetics brand only launched into the international market in 1957. Shiseido rose to global prominence in 1980 with the release of its first skincare line, and then in 1988, its anti-aging line. In 1993, Shiseido set a new precedent for skin care by creating moisturisers containing sun protection.

Californian skincare power brand Dermalogica began in 1986 thanks to skin therapist Jane Wurwand. Following her passion for reducing skin irritation, she partnered with her businessman husband Ray to remove skin irritants such as mineral oils, artificial colours and fragrances, lanolin and methylated spirit prevalent in skincare at the time. While at first exclusive to spas and salons only, now it’s widely available.


New Zealand’s Trilogy is the story of two sisters, Sarah Gibbs and Catherine de Groot who sought the secret of youth. They found it in rosehip oil, and so, in 2002 Trilogy began its beautiful history. The pair took the best of nature and transformed it with the best of science to create concentrated formulations that deliver impeccable skincare.

Another standout New Zealand brand is Antipodes. It’s sought the world over by beauty aficionados and it’s easy to see why. Founder, biologist Elizabeth Barbalich, born in Hawkes Bay and raised in Canterbury, combined the powers of Aotearoa’s natural botanical extracts with high tech innovation backed by scientific proof to create Antipodes in 2006. Since then the beautiful distinctly Kiwi brand has gone from strength to strength with people falling in love with this brand.

These are just some of the amazing brand stories behind iconic brands people love to love. Now let’s look at a few of their incredible, enduring products.


1. Cleansers

Our night time ritual deep cleanse is uncontested as the feel-good, luxurious treatment before bed. Like everything we do to pamper ourselves, having the right treatment solutions is number one in the pathway to feeling fab. 

We have to highlight three iconic cleansers that enhance skin to its optimal best. 

Dermalogica’s Daily Microfoliant is a worldwide top seller thanks to its revolutionary exfoliating rice-based powder that works into the skin to create a bright, smooth complexion. When the powder is activated with water it releases papain, salicylic acid and rice enzymes that buff and polish skin to radiance. It’s skin brightening complex comprises phytic acid from rice bran, along with white tea and licorice, which together balance uneven skin tone while soothing and calming with the potent power of colloidal oatmeal and allantoin.

Clarins One-Step Facial Cleanser All Skin Types is the must-have for a busy woman thanks to it evaporating one time-saving step in the cleansing routine. A life-saver when bedtime beckons. The potency of orange and moringa seed extracts provide dual-action to wipe away pollution and impurities deep within the pores and restore luminosity to skin thanks to then gentle removal of dull, dead skin cells, no rinsing needed.

Clinique’s Liquid Facial Soap, Mild is the ultimate one-step cleanser to suit all skin types. It produces a non-drying lather that gently, cleans skin while protecting the skin’s natural acid mantle moisture barrier ensuring balance as well as a deep cleanse.  

2. Toners

Toner is fast emerging as the #1 beauty treatment that reaps huge rewards when done daily. We concur! This heavenly formulation can be applied with a very soft cloth or using a mist spray, sprayed onto cleansed skin morning and night. Exfoliating prior will make all the goodness contained in your toner reaches deep into the dermal layer of your skin. Some spray toners also act over makeup setting it, while hydrating and protecting from pollution and moisture loss.

Pixi By Petra Holiday Edition Rose Tonic is a naturally soothing tonic rich in nutrients, which tones while balancing the skin’s ideal pH levels at 5.5, minimising redness and calming skin. The rose hydrosol base hydrates skin, while removing impurities and replenishing and refreshing.

Your skin will also love Dermalogica’s Multi-Active Toner and the Antipodes Resurrect Clarifying Facial Toner.

Clinique Moisture Surge 72-Hour Auto-Replenishing Hydrator.png

3. Moisturisers 

Moisturisers are absolute essentials to any skincare routine. They work best applied at the beginning of each day after cleansing and patting skin dry, worn under makeup or au naturale. Then again at night after a thorough cleanse and tone, which ensures all the nourishing ingredients work deep into the skin to heal and repair skin while we rest. Day and night creams offer the best of both worlds and replenish and protect all day and all night.

The areas that most need nourishing are our face, neck, decolletage and hands as these areas reveal the signs of skin ageing much sooner than the other skin on our bodies.

Stand-out iconic moisturisers for day, night and day / night are:


Clinique Moisture Surge 72-Hour Auto-Replenishing Hydrator is the gold standard of iconic skincare delivering advanced hydration thanks to revolutionary auto-replenishing technology that enables skin to create its own internal water source to continually rehydrate itself. It then locks in moisture revealing plump, dewy, healthy-looking glowing skin non-stop for 72 hours—even after washing your face. Clinique’s addictively refreshing gel-cream provides an instant moisture boost—and is now enhanced to delivering almost twice as much hydration at the end of the day than previously. Apply over or under makeup for a hydration boost.


Lancôme Absolue Night Cream is exceptional in delivering radiant, moisture replenished skin thanks to regenerative technology using skin stem cells developed by Lancôme.

Day / Night

Elizabeth Arden Eight Hour Cream Skin Protectant which is potent in the fight against redness and skin irritation, protecting and soothing skin all day. This luxurious and healing moisturiser can be applied everywhere on the body and is iconic in the Elizabeth Arden suite of skin elixirs having launched in 1930.  

44098731_2367968336551450_3523379234477178880_o.jpg4. Eye Treatment

The skin around our eyes is highly sensitive and requires a whole different approach to skin care. As we age, eyes are one of the first places to show signs of ageing with fine lines and wrinkles. Smile lines show character and our own fun-loving lives, but can also cause distress to some people, especially if it’s premature ageing, which can start in our early 20s. We can’t stop blinking and laughing, but we can show our eyes some love. 

The skin around our eyes love moisture, but swap out your daily moisturisers for eye creams, toners and concentrates to get the best benefits of these carefully crafted products. Plumping products such as peptides, retinol and vitamin A derivatives work wonders!

Dermalogica’s Stress Positive Eyelift contains powerful natural ingredients such as wild indigo seed actives that brighten skin while visibly reducing under-eye circles. Sea water extract and arctic algae soften puffiness, while fermented yeast and a perfected hyaluronic acid provide a lifting effect. 

The Lancôme Absolue Revitalizing Eye Cream enriched with grand rose extracts actively reduces signs of fatigue and lessen puffiness while reducing the sign of wrinkles. The eye contour appears rested and revitalised creating a brighter, more youthful expressive look.

Clarins’ Super Restorative Total Eye Concentrate is a revolution in a bottle! This extraordinary beauty product minimises the visible signs of aging around the sensitive eye area, targeting crow’s feet, puffiness, deep wrinkles and dark circles in just one eye cream. Its secret it the potency of organic harungana that visibly lifts and illuminates eyes restoring youthful radiance.

Choosing the right eye makeup remover is essential to any beauty routine and Lancôme Bi-Facil Eye Makeup Remover is a standout product. Even waterproof mascara is no match, which is removed with ease while conditioning the delicate skin around the eyes. The eye area is left feeling cool and refreshed with no oily residue.

36623012_1892602050761710_2625036358653050880_o.jpg5.  Serums and Treatments 

Serums and at home treatments are the new kids on the block and fast becoming a bathroom staple. Serums, oils and treatments are the fastest growing category of skincare in the last 10-20 years and complete the ideal beauty routine.

Whether applied nightly or weekly your skin will love this category of skin essentials’ nourishing hydration. Many include vitamins C, A and E known to repair, nourish and heal skin. 

Serums can also be the start of your morning beauty regime (after your cleanse and tone) and can act as a primer below or with foundation, which you can mix on your hand to create a vibrant BB cream - ideal for tropical holidays. Serums are also popular added to moisturisers day or night to restore healthy, glowing skin.

Shiseido’s Ultimune Power Infusing Concentrate and its ImuGeneration Technology, antioxidant rich reishi mushroom and iris root extracts strengthen skin while restoring firmness, hydration properties and defending against daily damage. Reporting skin that is 28% stronger in 7 days of daily use.

Estee Lauder Advanced Night Repair Synchronized Recovery Complex II and its ChronoluxCB Technology  addresses all key signs of visible ageing delivering a more comprehensive and precise nighttime repair. It is proven to reduce the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles resulting in smoother, richly hydrated stronger skin.

Lancôme Advanced Genifique Serum targets the 10 key signs of youthful-looking skin from texture, resiliency,  elasticity, firmness, sagginess, fine lines, wrinkles, radiance, to even skin tone and clarity. 

Clarins’s iconic Double Serum is Clarins’ #1 selling product. This is thanks to the serum’s innovative dual technology that combines potent anti-ageing plant extracts such as turmeric, which target fine lines and wrinkles, evens out skin tone and provides a radiance boost in just a week.

Aotearoa-produced Trilogy Rosehip Oil Antioxidant+ used daily results in healthier, more youthful looking skin. Trilogy’s unique Rosapene formulation results in  intense hydration along with the potency of daily antioxidant protection. Essential fatty acids combine with super antioxidants lycopene and phytosterol to deeply moisturise while protecting against free radical damage.

Another stellar Southern Hemisphere product is Antipodes Apostle Skin Brightening Serum, ideal for sensitive skin. This Waiwera mineral-blessed water serum targets pigmentation resulting in brighter skin and even tone. It restores essential moisture while delivering antioxidant-rich Vinanza Performance Plus, which addresses melanin production known to cause discoloration. 

Elizabeth Arden Advanced Ceramide Capsule Daily Youth Restoring Serum now has triple the anti-aging power thanks to potent botanicals and a retinol derivative that accelerates the skin’s natural repair process.

Shiseido Future Solution LX replenishing Treatment Oil for Face and Body. This rich, nutrition-packed treatment oil provides intensive nourishing benefits and plumps and softens skin. Ideal mixed with moisturiser, used under foundation, or even added to the bath to condition skin.

Clarins Blue Orchid Face Treatment Oil is premium moisture care for dehydrated skin. It contains 100% pure plant extracts such as rosewood patchouli and blue orchid to tone, revitalise and restore radiance to moisture-depleted skin. The additional benefits of hazelnut oil works to prevent moisture loss and the formation of fine lines.

26063579_1021441947994174_4107781298640485038_o.jpg6. Lip care

Lips contain no melanin, which is what gives our skin, hair and eyes colour. The lip colour we see is actually the blood showing through the paper thin skin that covers our lips. This means that our lips lack the natural sun protection that our skin naturally has. So they are much more prone to sunburn, chapping, cold sores from sunburn, windburn and cracking. Yikes! Plus they lack sebum and hair follicles which reacts with our sweat on other parts of our skin to form a natural protective barrier that prevents against moisture loss. 

Whether it’s sun, wind or loss of moisture, our precious pouts needs our attention. Shiseido’s UV Lip Colour Splash Tahiti Blue SPF42 is a must-have for every day New Zealand life. It provides lip protection from the sun while being highly moisturising. Shiseido’s Clear Defence technology defends against UV rays and the blue tone makes applying throughout the day fun! 

Clarins’ Hydra-Essentiel Replenishing Lip Balm soothes and heals dry, damaged lips thanks to blue lotus wax. The balm deeply hydrates and nourishes thirsty skin while restoring plumpness.

Other iconic lip-loving products are the Elizabeth Arden Eight Hour Cream Lip Protectant Stick SPF15 for superior lip sun protection, and anything from the range of the hugely popular Burt’s Bees Lip Balms.

12357062_589990314488512_8503022394600837784_o.png7. Body Moisturisers

As strange as it seems, our body’s need moisture MORE in winter than in summer. This is due to lower moisture content in the air inside when we use central heating, which dries skin, as well as rapid changes in temperature from going inside, then out and inside again. This means your skin will soak up gorgeous moisturisers during the winter months. 

Start by doing a full body dry brush or body exfoliation to remove dead skin cells that clog pores and cleanse. Choose treatments for heavy duty full body coverage and lather on with abandon. Perfect in front of Netflix we reckon!

Elizabeth Arden’s Prevage Body Total Transforming Anti-aging Moisturizer is a high performance moisturiser thanks to its clinically proven Idebenone. Backed by science,  Tripeptide Complex targets anti-ageing skincare needs to deliver potent results in just six weeks restoring smoother, firmer, totally transformed, revitalised skin.

Cetaphil Restoraderm Body Moisturiser is ideally suited to most skin types. This non-greasy moisturiser restores the skin’s natural skin barrier while patented Ceramide technology nourishes skin and increases the skin's ability to retain moisture to keep skin continually hydrated.

Clarins Relax Body Treatment Oil is like having all the luxury of a spa at home. This heavenly treatment oil contains 100% pure plant extracts with gorgeous oils to repair and nurture skin, like geranium, chamomile and basil that restore a sense of well being and calm. Hazel oil locks in moisture to nourish skin and soothe tired muscles.

Other celebrated iconic body moisturisers are Shiseido’s Future Solution LX Replenishing Treatment Oil, New Zealand’s own Trilogy Pure Plant Body Oil and Blackmores Natural Vitamin E Hand Cream.

esteelauder-1024x732.jpg8. Face Masks

Oh, hello Sunday night spa-while-you-sleep! While it’s cold outside there’s nothing like a Sunday pamper and masks you can do while you’re asleep. Whether it’s a cloth or a cream mask, these gorgeous products work deep into pores to draw out impurities, toxins, debris and dirt from the skin while adding all the goodies your skin needs to hydrate, soothe and repair. 

At night our skin goes into super busy mode to repair cell damage from oxidation caused by environmental stress and free radical damage. We can help nature on its way by bringing in the experts to do the heavy lifting by providing essential amino acids and minerals that revive and refresh skin while locking in hydration.

Stars in the category are Alya Skin Pink Clay Mask which draws out impurities from deep in the pores to detoxify and invigorate skin. Pollutants are purged and pores are closed to restore lustrous a glow.

Clinique City Block Purifying Charcoal Clay Mask + Scrub is a powerhouse mask that polishes while lifting dirt and debris from skin to ensure a deep clean while nourishing skin. Natural bamboo charcoal and kaolin clay lift pollutants from the pores while silica beads refine the skin’s texture in a luxurious experience that results in radiant skin.

For thriving skin every day of the year, also try Lancôme’s Advanced Genifique Light Pearl Eye Mask, the premium Estee Lauder Advanced Night Repair Concentrated Recovery PowerFoil Mask, and the Elizabeth Arden Ceramide Overnight Firming Mask.


We have all the products to make your skin glow, here!

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